LAHORE, Sep 03 (APP):Pakistan cricket captain Babar Azam delivered a psychological blow to India when he said his side will arrive in the United Arab Emirates for the ICC T20 World Cup better prepared than Virat Kohli’s men.
The event proper will begin on 23 October with the two former champions meeting in Dubai on 24 October.
Babar told APP here on Friday “In any major event year each side plans their preparations in such a way that they arrive for the tournament best prepared to win it. Clearly, our event planning is better than India’s as we will play seven T20Is against New Zealand and England before arriving in the UAE, while they will enter the tournament after playing Test cricket that will be followed by franchise cricket.
“Before any major competition or series, match results are important but what is equally critical and essential is the team bonding. I know for sure we will achieve this in the six weeks leading up to the T20 World Cup,” world’s No.2 ranked T20I batsman told reporters.
To date this year, 2009 champions Pakistan has played most number of T20Is – 17, winning nine and losing five. India, winners in 2007, is 12th on the list with eight T20Is (four wins and four loses).
“India are presently playing Test cricket, following which their T20 players will be spread over eight franchise sides. Furthermore, India last played as a unit in March against England, while in their July series against Sri Lanka, they were without their frontline players who were in England for the World Test Championship final
that has followed the five-match Test series.
“Each side designs their own plans and sets priorities, but is the best preparation to win any major tournament, your guess is as good as mine,” said the No.7 ranked Test and No.1 ranked ODI batsman.
“The only thing that remains in your control is how best you prepare for any series or global tournament.
I firmly believe our planning is perfect, what happens on 24 October is not in anyone’s control. The side that will execute their plans better and cash in on most of the opportunities will come out winner.
“I know my team is oozing with confidence and looking forward to the 24 October match. The seven T20Is against New Zealand and England will be crucial for us as we will like to win most of them so that we can carry that winning confidence and momentum to Dubai.
“Obviously, when you have a series of wins under your belt going into major series, your confidence is sky high and in high pressure matches, confidence and self-belief plays the decisive role,” Babar said.
Babar agreed Dubai stadium conditions will also suit Pakistan better than India.
“The UAE has been our second home. We have played 36 T20Is in the UAE, winning 21. We also peaked to number-one while playing and beating the best sides in those conditions.
So, yes, this is an added advantage and will give further motivation and confidence to our players.
“But as I’ve said, it’s also about translating preparations and performances into results. I remain confident and optimistic that we will produce the goods in the UAE.
“The overarching objective is to win the T20 World Cup, which we can only achieve after defeating most of the top sides. Yes, beating India is part of the plan but the overall aim is to the tournament.”
Babar agreed a full-strength New Zealand side would have added spice to the ODI and T20I series.
“We want to play against the most formidable sides. It would have been better if the star New Zealand players were part of the ODI and T20I series, but I guess it is their decision. We will approach the series will full force and win all matches.
“Hopefully, New Zealand will return next year for the Test match in full-strength. This will not only make the matches more competitive, but will also provide complete entertainment to the fans besides promoting and publicizing Test cricket,” added Babar.